Aug 282016

TL/DR: I’ve fixed Maya’s firmware to work better under Linux:  Audiotrak Maya U5 firmware MOD

Part 1: whats broken

Maya U5 is an USB sound card with 5.1 channels support. It has pretty decent sound quality to price ratio. I bought one to use it with my Windows computer. And under Windows it works great.

Then, one day I tried to use it under Linux. As you probably guessed – it didn’t went well. System recognized this device as stereo card, sound went down randomly, volume control was not always working. Audiotrak supports only Windows and OSX, but since this is standard USB audio device it should run under everything.

So of course I asked Google for help, and found firmware that should work. It was better – system detects proper 5.1 device. But other issues still occur.

My second step was to check official website for newer firmware updates. Well, there is one. Great! Well, actually not that great. My system tells me again that I have only two audio channels. Going back to previous firmware. Except firmware flasher attached with older firmware won’t flash my updated card.

Ok, lets compare this two firmware archives. It looks like only four files is changed: flasher exe and dll, VIAFwUpd.ini and one of the bin files. I bet it is the firmware itself. But lets check the ini first.


Yep, our firmware blob. And yes, after I’ve changed it to point to the older firmware bin, I can flash it with the new loader. Great work, we are where we started.

Ok, go back to Linux, lets check what kernel knows about this device

$ lsusb -vd 040d:3401

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 040d:3401 VIA Technologies, Inc. 
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0 
  bDeviceProtocol         0 
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  idVendor           0x040d VIA Technologies, Inc.
  idProduct          0x3401 
  bcdDevice            0.61
  iManufacturer           1 
  iProduct                2 
  iSerial                 0 
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength          574
    bNumInterfaces          4
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0 
    bmAttributes         0xa0
      (Bus Powered)
      Remote Wakeup
    MaxPower              500mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           0
      bInterfaceClass         1 Audio
      bInterfaceSubClass      1 Control Device
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 
      iInterface              0 
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                10
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      1 (HEADER)
        bcdADC               1.00
        wTotalLength          205
        bInCollection           2
        baInterfaceNr( 0)       1
        baInterfaceNr( 1)       2
      AudioControl Interface Descriptor:
        bLength                14
        bDescriptorType        36
        bDescriptorSubtype      4 (MIXER_UNIT)
      Warning: Descriptor too short
        bUnitID                10
        bNrInPins               3
        baSourceID( 0)          1
        baSourceID( 1)          7
        baSourceID( 2)         19
        bNrChannels             6
        wChannelConfig     0x003f
          Left Front (L)
          Right Front (R)
          Center Front (C)
          Low Freqency Enhancement (LFE)
          Left Surround (LS)
          Right Surround (RS)
        iChannelNames           0 
        bmControls         0x00
        bmControls         0x00
        bmControls         0x0a
        iMixer                 36 

There are errors in the USB descriptors. Terrific.
Ok, I found something called Thesycon USB Descriptor Dumper – very handy tool. And it told me interesting things.

Information for device MAYA U5 (VID=0x040D PID=0x3401):

*** ERROR: Descriptor has errors! ***


Endpoint Descriptor (Audio/MIDI):
0x07	bLength
0x05	bDescriptorType
*** ERROR: Invalid descriptor length 0x07
Hex dump: 
0x07 0x05 0x01 0x09 0x40 0x02 0x01 

Endpoint Descriptor (Audio/MIDI):
0x07	bLength
0x05	bDescriptorType
*** ERROR: Invalid descriptor length 0x07
Hex dump: 
0x07 0x05 0x01 0x09 0x60 0x03 0x01 

Yeah, more errors (this error is repeated 7 times for every Audio/MIDI endpoint).

Since I have never done anything more complex with USB descriptors than looking at lsusb output, at this point I had to read a lot. There is official USB documentation here, there are also more approachable descriptions like this and that. Anyway, after some heavy reading I was able to confirm that some descriptors were broken. Probably the mixer descriptor was the problem. There is some kind of array that should map inputs to outputs, but it is truncated. Truncated MIDI descriptors also could make some trouble, but since I rarely play any MIDI, it is not priority for me.

Ok, lets look inside the device. There is VIA Vinyl™ VT2021 codec and VIA VT1728A CPU. It is hard to find anything about this chip more that it is 8032 MCU. Which is something like 8051 with extra peripherals. But wait, there is something similar. VT1620A looks like older brother of this chip. Maybe it is not full spec PDF, but it is some starting point. And IDA handle 8032 assembly.

Part 2: lets fix it

USB configuration descriptor followed by other descriptors could be found at offset 0x15ec (in firmware image release F). My first attempt was to erase MIDI endpoints. Unfortunately, this bricked the box. Flasher stopped to recognise the device.

After second examination of the board, I found 8-pin IC labelled as 25VF512A. An 512 kbit SPI flash. But how to program it without proper hardware? Well, isn’t my Raspberry PI has SPI interface? After quick googling, I’ve found Flashrom. I’ve soldered 5 wires, connected them with Raspberry and was able to resurrect Maya. Back to square one.

Having working solution to unbrick the device, we could make some more intrusive (and complicated) modifications. Ideally it would be to fix every broken descriptor. To do that, we need more room than we have (some descriptors are truncated). So we need to relocate them. But where?

I dumped whole content of flash with my Raspberry. It has 64 kB, but only about 30 kB is used by the image. Rest of the space is empty. So at the end of data, there is plenty of room.

Next we need to find references to this data. 0x15ec could be found only at offset 0x1902. It is not code, and at this moment I couldn’t figure out how it is used, but since we have working backup plan, we are safe. I’ve copied descriptors at the end of image (offset 0x78a0) updated value at 0x1902 to point to the new location and zeroed descriptors data at original location. After flashing (with Audiotrak flasher) it worked!

After many tries I was able to fix mixer and MIDI endpoints. I’ve removed remote-wakeup attribute from configuration descriptor to prevent system from suspending it. Now it is usable under Linux, but still there are minor glitches. I’ve tried to fix also newest image, but could’t make 5.1 to work, so I’ve stayed with older one.

Here is modified (fixed) firmware with new loader, so it could be flashed even on devices with newer firmware.

Audiotrak Maya U5 firmware MOD
 Posted by at 7:38 pm

  4 Responses to “Fixing Audiotrak Maya U5 firmware”

  1. It’s fantastic to see article like that one, long after I’ve given up on tinkering with this great device. My solution was to “catch” a working channel by scrolling in pavucontrol and then playing my one hour file of silence in mpv. Although it was a dirty solution, it worked perfectly for about 3 years. What’s strange about this one, is that the the most common working(and the only one with working volume control) channel was the IEC958 one, described as digital output, even though I use it with stereo speakers connected to Analog Out and headphones to headphones out.

    I’ve flashed your custom firmware, descriptors seems to be fixed, but I still got this problem with random idling and audio not getting played in correct channel. Do you also encounter this problem or is it something with my config?

  2. Yeah, unfortunately I still have similar issues. I am using this device mainly with my Windows machine, and already given up on fixing it.

  3. That’s unfortunate. Well, my solution still works and I’m pretty accustomed to using it. What I’ve noticed though is that alsamixer crashes when I select maya u5.

    Do you know some devices similar to Maya in size, sound quality, price and set of outputs that works in Linux just as good as in Windows?

  4. when i purchased maya i was looking for some decent cheap 5.1 sound cards, there was nothing else to selec from. I dont know how it looks right now, I cant help you.

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